Ford Gets First Order 108 Years Ago Today: Legacy of Asbestos in Motor Vehicles Begins

July 15th, 2011

On July 15th, 1903, Ford Motor Company received its first order from a Dentist in Chicago. This began a long, unfortunate legacy of asbestos use in brake pads. For decades, mechanics and Ford assembly line workers were exposed to asbestos from working with brake pads. Asbestos is still used in some car parts today.

Especially when working on older vehicles, mechanics still face a risk of asbestos exposure. Although, since the late 1970’s, the dangers of asbestos have been greatly publicized, and now mechanics can better protect themselves against exposure. When production of automobiles started, the hazardous of asbestos use were not well-known. Asbestos corporations actively hid the true risks of working with asbestos from the general public to maintain high profits.

Although this day signifies the anniversary of a great American achievement, it also brings to mind the generations of mechanics who came in daily contact with this horrible substance – many died as a result.

Mechanics today should see their doctors frequently to check for symptoms of asbestos-related diseases. If diagnosed early, an asbestos-related disease can be much more manageable than one diagnosed in the late stages. Anyone diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease should seek legal counsel immediately.


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